Firstly, let me say that I'm fully aware we are still in February, and there are hundreds of twists and turns yet to happen in this year's recruiting class, but is anyone else slightly worried with how things are looking right now.
Whilst Michigan is in on a lot of good prospects, especially in and near the state of Michigan, they don't actually lead for many recruits right now; especially the big timers. It looks like most of the in state battles won't even be with Michigan State, rather invading schools such as Tennessee, Oklahoma, Ohio State and Alabama.
Here's a quick look at some of the top players on Michigan's board:
- LB James Ross: He could be the top recruit in the state of Michigan this year, but he could also be headed to Ohio State! Whilst he had a great time talking to Hoke and Mattison, he's an OSU fan at heart and couldn't hide his excitement when the Buckeyes offered last week. He'll be tough to land.
- CB Terry Richardson: Michigan is not the leader right now; we don't know who is. But with the likes of Alabama, USC, LSU and more after the UA All American, he's going to be really hard to keep in state. We're also forgetting PAC-10 Champs Oregon, who he's reportedly very interested in after they landed Dior Mathis in the class of 2010.
- DT Dan O'Brien: I think eventually Michigan will land O'Brien, mainly because of the opportunity he will get to see the field early at DT, along with the chance of playing for two great D-Line coaches in Hoke and Mattison. But the fact of the matter is, Tennessee is his leader right now, and Derek Dooley is a pretty darn good recruiter, as he showed when he pulled Arnett away from UM, USC, MSU and co last year.
- LB Royce Jenkins-Stone: He's probably the only big in state name to have Michigan as his leader right now, but even that's not confirmed. He was very happy to receive that Oklahoma offer, and more schools are likely to come into the picture; maybe Alabama decides they want both the Cass Tech kids etc etc. Either way, RJS is certainly not a lock as some people might assume.
- DE Chris Wormley: Here's another guy Michigan may well lead for, but it's hardly official right now. He likes the new UM coaches, mainly because they are defensively minded, and they have NFL experience to help him get to the next level. However Wormley is probably a top five player in the state of Ohio, so you know it's going to be a tough fight with OSU; and the Buckeyes landed one of his teammates from last year, making things just that little bit harder for Michigan. Michigan might be the current leader, but its awfully close.
Conclusion: I know this is a pretty negative outlook on things, and that Michigan does actually lead for some very good prospects like Matt Godin, Jordan Diamond and Ron Thompson. But before this year started, everyone was talking about the big four in state guys, the Detroit Three + Dan O'Brien; and it appears none of them are locks for UM right now, which is somewhat disappointing.
As for that first commitment, I think I'll stand by my original prediction of Ron Thompson, with Matt Godin as the #2 candidate.
Side note: I'm on a computer that for some reason does not have spell check, so I apologize for the probably numerous spelling errors in this post!